Friday, 31 August 2007

Teen Blog

We have added a new blog to the Teens pages - and will update it with news, study help, events and other things of interest. It is called Teen Blog! We value your comments!

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Louis Sachar's latest

Check out our recent kids' fiction picks for Louis Sachar's latest, one beastly beast, two aliens, three inventors and four fantastic tales from Garth Nix, and the third book in the Mistmantle Chronicles.

Thursday, 23 August 2007

A wild wind from the north: Hongi Hika's 1823 invasion of Rotorua

This month's New Zealand recent picks feature Don Stafford's account of Hongi Hika's 1823 invasion of Rotorua - of the utter devastation it wrought, and of the reconciliation that took place 100 years later. Also featured are Mary Holm's treatise on how to make Kiwi Saver work for you, Conal McCarthy's history of colonial cultures of display and the remarkable story of Maori resistance to, involvement in, and eventual capture of the display of their culture, and diverse accounts of more than 40 ethnic groups that have brought their culture and customs across the world to New Zealand. Have a look!

Life in a changing China

The peasant revolutionary turned lifestyle guru, the former Shaolin monk working on a Shanghai building site, the conservative father now running a gay hotline - and the teenagers who just want to dress up as their favourite Japanese cartoon characters. Our popular non-fiction recent picks this month feature 'Getting rich first: life in a changing China', by Duncan Hewitt, and some other fascinating reads on a mixed bag of subjects - climate change in New Zealand, planning for retirement ('What color is your parachute? for retirement : planning now for the life you want'), a history of the trial, building schools in Afghanistan, gay life and culture, and lots more.

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Gluten free, and a year of eating dangerously

Great gluten free recipes, three generations of Italian family cooking, recipe ideas for entertaining from Rachel Allen, and Tom Parker Bowles' Year of Eating Dangerously (brought up on mushy peas and shepherd's pie, he decides to examine the cultural divides that make some foods verboten or "dangerous" in British culture while being seen as lip-smacking delicacies in others...). All in this month's cooking recent picks.

Down at Fraggle Rock

This month's kids' sound and vision recent picks feature season one of Fraggle Rock and Jane and the Dragon, plus a couple of rotten rats in Flushed Away!

Mr. Funky's super crochet wonderful

Elegant wire jewelry, card making, 'quilt your favourite photos', punk, gothic and vintage knitting projects ('Dominknitrix: whip your knitting into shape'), beading with gemstones, quilting with treasured fabrics, and crochet projects for those who love Hello Kitty, bohemian 70's inspired fashion and Japanese style. All in this month's craft recent picks.

Friday, 17 August 2007

Music Specialist Spotlight: Soul singer David Ruffin

Wish it would rain ; In a mellow mood, by the TemptationsSoul singer David Ruffin was one of the members of the 'classic 5' line up of Soul legends 'The Temptations'. Hired to replace volatile founding member Elbridge Bryant who was fired for attacking another band member with a beer bottle, Ruffin's role was as a secondary singer, the lead singing duties being divided between the falsetto of Eddie Kendricks & the baritone of Paul Williams. All this changed one night, as legend has it, when fellow Motown singer/songwriter Smokey Robinson saw Ruffin performing a song live.

The ultimate collection, David RuffinThe next day he came to the Temps dressing room with a new song he thought Ruffin would be perfect for. The song 'My Girl' became their 1st number one, sold over a million copies, and elevated Ruffin to lead singer. More leads followed and Ruffin's dynamic live performances made him the group's focal point. Ruffin was never much of a team player though, with a deep and often troubled personality. A growing addiction to cocaine fuelled his personal demons, and his demons fuelled his ego. When 'The Supremes' became 'Diana Ross & the Supremes’ Ruffin, who was singing most of the leads, failed to see why he shouldn't get top billing as well. The group voted him out and the embittered Ruffin filed suit against Motown demanding an accounting of his money and a release from his contract. Forced to finish out his contract Ruffin went solo and had his first big hit with 'My Whole World Ended (The Moment You Left Me)'. Things looked good for a while but then the hits dried up. Ruffin was never popular with Motown management & an entire album ('David') was cut but never released until 30 years later, when it became regarded as his best solo work. But teaming with uber soul producer Van McCoy he made a mid-70's comeback with 'Walk away from love', which became his last big hit.

After leaving Motown he recorded a couple of solid albums for Warner Brothers, hooked up with the Temptations again for a 'Reunion' album in the early 80's, recorded a live album with Kendricks & 80's Blue Eyed Soul stars 'Hall & Oates', cut an under-rated duo album with friend and fellow ex-Temptation Eddie Kendrick, was inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame in 1989, then toured with Kendrick and fellow ex-Temptation Dennis Edwards (who replaced him as lead singer) as 'The Former Lead Singers of the Temptations'. But the 80's in general weren't kind to Soul music or any of its surviving practitioners, and Ruffin was never kind to himself, his demons finally consuming him as he died of an overdose in a Philadelphia crack house in 1991. David Ruffin was 50 years old.

Ruffin's legacy remains in his music. His aching voice was never really equalled in 'The Temptations' and as a Soul singer he belongs in the same pantheon as legends like Sam Cooke, Otis Redding & Al Green. Ruffin's gift was similar to Sinatra's in that he could inhabit any song as if he'd written it, channelling the drama and darkness inside him into whatever story the lyrics were telling. On Wish it would Rain he channels the pain of Motown writer Rodger Penzebene on the title track & the song 'I could never love another (after loving you)', both written by Penzebene (who committed suicide just after the song reached number #1) about his wife's infidelity. The Ultimate Collection is a selection of Ruffin's post Temptation solo sides, and reveals a surprisingly consistent level of work, the song titles seeming to form a montage of vignettes in which Ruffin could live out the drama of his life: 'My whole world ended (the moment you left me)', 'I've lost everything I've ever loved', 'Walk away from love', 'Statue of a fool', 'Rode by the place (where we used to stay)' & 'Let somebody love me'.

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Wholly irresponsible experiments and sacred geometry

In this month's science recent picks we bring you dazzling explosions, geysers, fireballs and impacts - with a collection of wholly irresponsible experiments. Also included are Roger Deacon's 'Wildwood: a journey through trees', a quest around the world to discover what lies behind man's profound and enduring connection with wood and with trees; and a magical mystery tour of maths history in 'Math for mystics'. Plus: 'The elegant universe of Albert Einstein : the collected lectures of the Royal Society of New Zealand E=mc2 series' (broadcast on National Radio), and the Holy Grail of birdwatching (wherein one man races to see more than 700 birds in 12 months to break the Australian birdwatching record).

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

A heartfelt expression and a nostalgic glimpse into a wasted youth

The staff reviews for August on the Popular Music page include CDs by Black Mountain, Dolores O'Riordan, Dungen, Smog, the new Ryan Adams and more. New music books also feature, this month celebrating the "special breed" of music managers (Epstein, McLaren et al), film musicals and a Rolling Stone writer's memoir ("life and loss: one song at a time"). The latter's sad but fascinating and the mix tapes are also worth a look.

Other Popular Topics pages this month focus on Napoleon, ballet DVDs and children's nutrition.

Monday, 6 August 2007

The month for Boxed Sets...

Volume one of The Practice, Season One of Roswell, Season One of Quantum Leap, Season Two of ER., the second Season of Numb3rs, the fourth season of King of the Hill, Season Nine of The Simpsons and Series One of Hotel Babylon - check out our selection of new Boxed Sets in this month's DVD recent picks. Also featured this month: Out of the Blue - the story of November 13, 1990, in Aramoana.

Thursday, 2 August 2007

Download our audiobooks for free!

We have a great range of audiobooks available via our new subscription, which you can download and listen to via your computer or when you're mobile.

There's Norah Roberts, classic novels, language tapes, self improvement titles, Little Britain, biographies... the list goes on. Available all hours, we're ready when you are!